THE BASICS OF THE NYLON JACKET
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Types of Nylon
There are three basic weaves that are commonly used to manufacture
nylon jackets or outerwear. These are Taffeta, Satin and Oxford.
Taffeta is a plain weave type of fabric and represents the
basic form of weaving. The yarns alternately pass over and
under each other. This type of woven fabric is very stable
because of the many iner-weavings. Taffeta nylon, because
of it’s finer weave, imparts an excellent balance of
surface and smoothness. This provides for good ink adhesion
and edge definition.
Some of the products manufactured from this type of fabric
include windbreaker jackets, lined jackets, umbrellas, windsocks,
light weight tote bags, etc.
"Oxford" nylon is actually a name given to the
basket weave of two threads over and two threads under. A
larger diameter thread than the thread for taffeta is used.
A harsher hand and rough surface are the result of this type
of weave (often found in men's dress shirts).
The rougher surface requires a thicker film of ink. The surface
of the fabric may also cause a sawtooth edge to the print.
Products manufactured from this fabric include athletic jackets,
banners, flags, tote bags and brief cases.
The satin weave produces a very lustrous fabric. This is
the fabric used for Nylon Satin Jackets. For the screen printer,
satin fabric provides a very smooth surface on which to print.
Opacity and edge definition is easily achieved on this fabric.
It seems that the primary use for this fabric is for jackets,
but it is also occasionally used for banners and other nylon
Jackets come in four basic linings - shell, kasha, fleece and
The term shell means that the jacket consists of one layer
of nylon (no lining). This is the lightweight style jacket
sometimes called a windbreaker.
Kasha lining is also called flannel. Kasha is a type of flannel
made out of polyester.
Fleece is a man made sheerling or lambswool type of lining.
Quilt is a two layered fabric consisting of polyester batting
(or fluff) with a nylon or polyester acetate layer. It is
stitched in an assorted variety of patterns (i.e. squares
Required Printing Equipment
Using the correct equipment is fundamental for achieving the
best printing results. The "best" print requires using
the correct equipment, the correct ink and the best available
The jacket hold-down is a very important piece of equipment,
as it must hold the nylon fabric securely. Because most jackets
printed are multiple layer garments (lined), just putting
adhesive on the platen will not hold the top layer of the
garment in place.
The hold-down must keep the nylon in place when flashing
and printing the nylon fabric. Preferably, the hold-down should
be made of steel with rubber cushioning around the inside
edges to grip the nylon fabric. It is also advisable to have
a rubber pad on the printing platen. The rubber pad will reduce
the amount of heat retained by the platen. Since aluminum
and wood expand when heated, they do not make the best hold-downs
Frames and Mesh
Retensionable metal screen frames are highly recommended.
Second best would be extruded metal frames that are newly
stretched (mechanically, not by hand) and glued.
Screen mesh should be monofilament polyester. For one-color
prints, a range of 125 to 230 monofilament mesh is recommended.
Metallic colors should be printed through 86 to 160 monofilament.
Process colors require 200 to 355 monofilament. Multi-color
spot printing should be printed through 160 to 205 monofilament.
Nylon fabric is a hard, relatively smooth surface. Squeegees
must have a sharp, straight and level edge. Use 70 to 80 durometer
or 60-90-60 to 70-90-70 triple durometer squeegees.
International Coatings 900 Series Direct Print Nylon Ink
must be mixed with International Coatings 900LF Catalyst prior
to use to be effective.
Catalyst to Ink Ratios:
By Volume = 16 parts of ink color to 1 part of 900 Catalyst.
By Weight = 20 parts of ink color to 1 part of 900 Catalyst.
MIXING BY WEIGHT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
USE INK IMMEDIATELY AFTER MIXING
DO NO UNDER CATALYZE THE MIXED INK
POT LIFE OF MIXED INK IS 4 TO 8 HOURS
OVER CATALYZATION OF INK WILL SHORTEN POT LIFE OF INK
Printing Tips and Techniques
Off contact is the key factor in successful nylon printing.
The off-contact distance should be 1/16" to 1/8" from
the highest point of the nylon fabric. Excessive off contact
will cause heavy ink deposit at the outer edges of the print.
Double imaging or "slurring" of the image by too much
off-contact is caused by the nylon fabric sliding or slipping
off the back of the stencil.
Off contact is particularly important when printing nylon that
is lined with either quilt or fleece. Jackets that are lined
with these fabrics should have approximately 1/16" off
contact. Excessive off contact requires extra squeegee pressure
causing the same slurring or double imaging. The thickness of
these linings will cause the garment to retain heat longer than
thinner lined or unlined garments.
Because nylon fabric changes size when heated (as in flashing),
pre-heating the fabric or jacket before printing is highly
recommended. Pre-heating also helps to remove wrinkles from
the fabric. Wrinkles or creases can often show up in the printed
images, causing misprints. The fabric or jacket should be
sent through the dryer or pre-heated with the flash cure unit
for approximately 2 to 5 seconds, reaching a temperature of
150°F to 200°F. The flash cure unit should be set
between medium and medium high heat. Flash cure units with
one heat setting will need to be adjusted and tested for correct
height and dwell time. Flash cure units that swing in and
away automatically, at a set time, are highly recommended.
All flash cure units should be adjusted for dwell time and
temperature before production begins.
Single Color Printing
The nylon fabric must be held securely in place, even on
a single color print. Correct amount of off contact and clean
screen break immediately after the squeegee passes is extremely
important in eliminating slurring or double imaging.
The success of both spot color and process multi-color printing
is dependent on ink film thickness. Flashing time will vary
according to the ink film thickness. Nylon fabric should be
printed while warm. If the fabric is printed while hot the
ink may start to gel in the screen. Nylon that is left to
cool for too long generally changes size or shape slightly.
The change will throw off registration in the print.
The heat element distance should be high enough so the fabric
does not scorch. The entire ink film (both area and thickness)
must reach 300°F to 325°F (149°C to 163°C)
to achieve a full cure. The ink film adhesion will become
stronger and more abrasion resistant over the next 48 to 72